Friday, June 1, 2018

Reflections - Breaking the Rules

 Here is what I am thinking about this week: When is it okay to break the rules?

Rules and laws are put in place are a variety of reasons- mostly to keep people safe and help us to live in community together. At least that's what the Ten Commandments were intended for when they are given to Moses by God.  The people were struggling to live well together so these handy-dandy guidelines were sent to help them along.

Now of course there are rules that are outdated and just don't apply to every situation - or rules that are just not fair to everyone. So what do we do with those?

Check out this site for weird laws from every state.

I think that we can all agree there are some pretty silly and unfair rules. Or just rules that just don't make sense.

Jesus encountered this, too.

Read Mark 2: 23-3:6

Jesus was often confronted by the Pharisees, who believed that keeping the laws of Moses was the most important thing to God. They believed that their own understanding and teaching about the law was the only correct teaching.

In this passage,  it's the Sabbath (the day of rest by law) and Jesus and his disciples were walking through some fields of grain. They were were hungry and began to break of some heads of grain to eat. The Pharisees saw this and called them out for harvesting grain on the Sabbath.

Of course to Jesus there was a difference between breaking off a few heads of grain to eat with and harvesting the whole crop, Jesus answered them, "Haven't you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests were allowed to eat. He also shared it with his companions."

Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath."

The scripture tells us Jesus then went into the synagogue and noticed there was a man who had a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, the Pharisees were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched to see if he would heal the man on the Sabbath. If so, they would accuse Jesus of working on the Sabbath.

Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, "Come and stand in front of everyone." Then he turned toward his enemies and asked, "Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil?" The Pharisees refused to answer him. Jesus heals the man and some Pharisees high-tailed it out of there to tattle to Herod and begin to plot on how to kill Jesus.

Jesus teaches us to be compassionate and to take care of each other. He healed the man on the Sabbath because it was the right thing to so.

Knowing when to break the rules is not always easy - but for Jesus healing and showing God's love for the world outweighed the consequences he would face.

My prayers for all of us this week is that we don't let the rules - and people who are trying to catch us breaking  them - keep us from taking care of others and following Jesus' example of love and compassion.

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